The Raid Observer: Dragon Soul Raiding Progress - Your Day 1 Update!
Welcome to the Dragon Soul progression race of Patch 4.3!
So I'll be posting some basic observations on progress each day during the race itself. Paragon asked me to not just provide updates on their progress but also track the race in general. And since raiding began yesterday on the American servers, I'll start off with a short update today and then keep adding information, at least daily and sometimes even more as the race heats up. Yes, yes, I know the "real" race begins next week with the heroic modes, but I think how we move through the normal modes can be quite informative, too, so that's where we'll start. I'm going to be including sexy things like graphs and charts to help with our race progress analysis! I'll also do some comparative analysis over previous patches!
Hearing from the Guilds
I know one of the things we like to read about is how the guilds are doing during progress. Well, I won't be posting any strategies, but I will be reporting some feelings and expectations of the raiders on the frontlines as I can talk to them. I'm not just interested in how the top guilds are doing, I'd like to hear from any guild that's aiming to improve its rankings; is engaged in a race for realm first; or just wants to make a mark on raiding for the first time. Let me know how it's going! You can report progress to me via a PM on this site or reach me via IRC (same name!). I want to hear it all, the good, the bad, and the ugly!
Day 1: Normal Modes Begin
So looking at the progress sites this morning, I see something a bit wonky! Wowtrack isn't even listing rankings yet and wowprogress doesn't seem to have any separation by raid group sizes as of yet. Guildox does appear to have things separated so far, however. Bugs in the tracking sites are just something to be mindful of when you're checking progress in these early days. It might take a bit for the rankings and tracking to catch up with the actual progress. Can you imagine if that happened with something like the Premier League or during the Olympics? Anyway, based on what I can read, we have almost 2000 American guilds that have killed at least ONE normal mode boss. That's after only about 12 hours of progress so far. I'd say that's quite compelling information! But who is killing them? Around 56 guilds in total have gone ahead and cleared every boss on normal mode, but that does not include the top-ranked guilds from Tier 12 necessarily. Out of the top 10 US guilds, only Exodus (ranked US#5 in tier 12) and TG (ranked US #6 in tier 12) have done a full clear, while four have done a partial clear, and three (vodka, Premonition, and Suit Up) have not killed a single boss. This is typically for strategic reasons, holding back on killing the actual bosses to possibly check tactics, gear up on trash drops, or for other reasons. Essentially, these guilds are typically more than capable of clearing the instance in an evening, so they'll most likely hold off on completely clearing the area until they've benefited from what they can over the course of the week. My expectation is that the top European and Asian guilds will follow the same pattern, with some guilds clearing part or none of the instance right away, holding off on clearing completely until right before the heroic race begins.
But nonetheless congratulations to the following top 3 US guilds for their sheer speed at clearing the normal modes:
1st: Nirvana, a Chinese-language 10-man guild that cleared the entire instance in just under 2 hours! (As an example, they appear to have only spent under 9 minutes on the Blackhorn encounter.)
2nd: Exodus, a 25-man guild which was ranked 5th in the US in tier 12, and first guild to clear all normal modes in 25-man mode and in under 2 and a half hours!
3rd: Newbee, another Chinese-language 10/25-man guild on an Oceanic US server, that cleared the content in approximately 3 hours.
So, while this won't necessarily be a hint of things to come, it does suggest a few interesting ideas: guilds can clear the normal modes very quickly and being first to clear the normal modes does not necessarily correlate to the final rankings after all is said and done. More to come! Welcome to Patch 4.3, Europe. :)